Hello from South Carolina! Beaufort, South Carolina, to be exact. We were here last November on our way down the ICW, and now we are here again on our way up the ICW. Last November we stayed at the Beaufort City Marina right downtown, but since we will be in a slip now for a month we are across the Swing Bridge from the City Marina at the Lady’s Island Marina. The Lady’s Island Marina is truly amazing with a lot of charm and stores nearby. It’s going to be a good place to spend a month.
So why are we going to be here for a month? Good question! At the end of this month is my Mom’s 80th Birthday so we want to go home for that. We want to be home for longer than just a weekend, and we want to take Max, so we will rent a car and be there for a good week and a half or so. And we found out you typically get a better rate at marinas if you stay for a month. We first thought we would like to get to Charleston and find a marina, but in looking at the monthly prices there it is very expensive. Staying here in Beaufort is probably only a third of the cost of the Charleston area.
Because of the weather this weekend we arrived here earlier than anticipated, and since we now have a couple of weeks before we head home there are a lot of maintenance I’d like to get done on the boat. We launched the boat a year ago today, so it has now been in the water a year. I have done the usual engine maintenance stuff along the way, but I would like now to do some other maintenance to make sure we are good for another year.
The trip here to Beaufort was a doozey, especially the last day of travel, since arriving in St. Mary’s last week. But we find everything we do seems to have its own adventure – which is part of the fun!
We had a great time in St. Mary’s, GA, after the weather settled down the day we arrived last week Friday. On Saturday, April 27, we met Dave and Tonya Nelson and their delightful daughters, Reagan, Reese and Ryn, for lunch at a great local restaurant. Tonya is the owner of The Hen House Bakery who made us a pecan pie and other baked goods in our November visit to the town. When we picked up the pie she and Dave came out to our boat for a tour. We sort of kept in touch with them so it was so great to re-connect and visit with them again. Tonya then drove Sharon to the local grocery store for provisions while Dave brought Max and I to the St. Mary’s Boat Services boatyard so I could connect with them about getting a haul-out this fall on our way back down.
After a delightful stay in St. Mary’s we pulled up anchor on Sunday, April 28, and went a whopping 8 miles to anchor off Cumberland Island. We had missed it on the way down so it was good to stop there this time. It is an absolutely gorgeous island with many walking trails and so much to see. The island is known for its wild horses and armadillos, as well as the Dungeness ruins. Lots of history on that island!
We spent the day on Monday, April 29, touring the island following their trails and seeing probably the most spectacular scenery we have seen: everything from lush tree-covered trails to far-reaching beaches along the Atlantic. Along the way we were able to spot a couple of armadillos and see them forage for food, as well as seeing many of the wild horses foraging around. In addition we saw birds of so many different kinds, in addition to deer and wild snakes. Just a beautiful day!
On Tuesday, April 30, we took our anchor up early, at 7:00 am, and headed north up the ICW. By 10:30 am already we passed Jekyll Island where we had stayed on our way down November. It was a very nice marina and area to walk around, and we were sorry we didn’t stop this time, but we were keeping an eye on the weather for the upcoming weekend and thought it would be best to make some good miles while we could before it started to get rainy and stormy. So at 1:30 pm we finally stopped almost 44 miles later at Fridaycap Creek. This was truly just a creek just off the ICW that we pulled into and put down our anchor down in for the night. It was charted as a good place to anchor, and is just a spot along the ICW. We never got off the boat (still so thankful Max “goes” on the boat!) and had a restful afternoon and good sleep. Another sailboat even stopped later that afternoon and spent the night as well.
At 7:00 am the next morning, Tuesday, we hauled our anchor up and headed north again. We had an idea of how far we wanted to go, but let the day unfold to see how we felt. On our way down the ICW last fall, we had gone “outside” into the ocean for this part so we missed most of the ICW through Georgia. Since we were staying “inside” this time we got to experience the twists and turn through the salt marshes of this part of the ICW. It sort of felt like going on a canoe trip where you just wind around, each turn sort of looking like the last one. Some people say this is a very boring part of the ICW, but it was really kind of pretty in its own way and we enjoyed it. We finally put the anchor down after 58 miles in a delightful creek off the ICW called Breakfast Creek. For this spot there were more homes along the creek and it was near a major inlet to the ocean so we had a few huge fishing trawlers go by us after we anchored.
Because rain was supposed to be coming on Friday, we decided we wanted to make it all the way to Beaufort, SC, the next day instead of stopping at Hilton Head like on the way down. So at 6:30 am, Thursday, May 2, we headed back onto the ICW and turned north. We had only two bascule bridges to go through with the first one being 16 miles away. It was the Causton Bluff Bridge and between 7 am and 9 am it would only open on the top of the hour, so we paced ourselves to be there for the 9:00 am opening. We did very well and after passing the Savannah, Ga, area we arrived just in time for the opening. Unfortunately, they were experiencing electrical problems and said they really had no idea when they would be able to get it open – could be an hour or it could be all day. What?!
We decided to backtrack about 10 miles and head out to the ocean to go around the whole area rather than just sitting there wondering if it would open. The wind was good and we didn’t think the waves would be that big out on the ocean so away we went. We went by Savannah again and eventually went out the Wassaw Sound out onto the Atlantic. The wind was initially right on the nose, out of the east, as we came out of the Sound but the waves were in the 4 – 6 foot range with occasional larger ones that made it somewhat uncomfortable heading out. We had to get almost 10 miles offshore before we could turn north, but once we did it was much more comfortable. We left the motor running but put both sails out and had a great 20 mile run north up to the Hilton Head inlet. With the sails out we were able to maintain 7.5 – 7.7 knots so it was amazing.
Finally, at 6:30 pm, after stopping for fuel and waiting for the last bascule bridge, the Beaufort Swing Bridge, to open we pulled into Lady’s Island Marina. We ended up going 79 nautical miles and it felt good to get off the boat. As we reflected, we had not been off the boat since we toured Cumberland Island on Monday, so it especially felt good.
Today we spent just relaxing. The list of projects will start soon enough. We even did a Happy Hour this afternoon at the Dockside Restaurant and toasted to our adventures. Oh, it did rain.